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ETHIOPIA Vol. XIX No. 24 August 13, 2012 Days Update
ETHIOPIA
Vol. XIX No. 24
August 13, 2012
Days Update

A WAAG Communications News Digest Service

The Meles Factor

The news blackout on the condition of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi continued last week, leaving the media to repeat the official government statement and write more about the legacy of the Prime Minister and what his long absence from duty means to the nation and the region. Reports also gave unconfirmed indications of where the power now lies. Meanwhile, government business appeared to run as usual as reported in the state media.

periods of economic development in its history — might look like without him. “We are worried,” said Makeda Taye, who will enter college in Addis Ababa this fall having known life under no other leader. “This country has grown stronger and it’s not certain — did it grow this way because of Meles or in spite of him? In absence of knowing one way or the other, we prefer things the way they are.”

The U.S. government has long viewed Meles as a stable partner in a region peppered with despots and religious extremists. The United States has given Ethiopia, which serves as an ally in the fight against terrorism and hosts a base for U.S. drones, hundreds of millions of dollars in aid over the years.

Meles, the longtime chairman of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, presides over a nation where human rights groups say dissent, even of the peaceful sort, has often been met with a violent governmental response, including the killing of 200

Inside

Resting at home

The private weekly Yang Press (August 7) reported the health condition of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi continues to be a subject of controversy in the media. Both local and international news sources have been reporting different stories on the Prime Minister’s health. Quoting the International Crisis Group (ICY), EAST Radio had earlier reported that the Prime Minister had died. The Economist magazine, which is regularly read by the Prime Minister himself, said the government’s power is now concentrated in the hands of people close to the Prime Minister. In its report, The Economist described the prime minister as dynamic and the voice of Africa. It said the prime minister, following his treatment at a Belgian Hospital, is now resting in his country. The Economist also reported that the official duties of the Prime Minister are now being performed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

It said that Prime Minister Meles is a graduate of Britain’s Open University and is widely known to be a voracious reader. According to the magazine, official state duties are handled by Ato Hailemariam Desalegn but that the real power is exercised from behind by Ato Miles’s close officials including Army chief of Staff General Samara Yunus.

Nation holding its breath

The Washington Post (August 8) reported when the summer rains come, as they have in cleansing torrents over recent weeks, the 3 million residents of Ethiopia’s smog-choked capital usually inhale a little more deeply and exhale a little more freely. But at this moment it seems the entire city is holding its breath. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the rebel- turned-technocrat who has led Ethiopia since 1991, is sick. And his long absence from public view has given Ethiopians cause to contemplate what their nation — now enjoying one of the longest sustained

5

7

3 Muslims and Protests Seven Days in Politics

Around Neighbors

8 What the Editors Say

9 Socio-Economic Diary 12 Rights and Wrongs 13 Kaleidoscope

"Seven Days Update" is a summary of major reports of the week from media sources in Ethiopia Price 20 birr

Tel. (011) 123-6783, (011) 655-1696, E-mail address: tafari.wossen@ethionet.et; P. O. Box 703

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

protesters in 2005. Under his rule — which was extended for another five years in 2010 when the incumbent reportedly received 99 percent of the vote in his native Tigray Region and his party and its allies won all but two parliamentary seats — tens of thousands of dissidents have been jailed. So have hundreds of journalists.“He’s like other leaders in Africa; some are better and some are worse, but all of them are addicted to power,” said Tola Benti, a young businessman who would like to see a change in leadership, even though he says it is a bit frightening to imagine what his nation would look like under someone else.

Meles, 57, hasn’t exhibited the same ostentatious insatiability for riches and power as many other regional strongmen. Under his rule, religious and press freedoms have been slowly expanded, and a multi-party parliament has been established. Meles also claims to be anticipating his eventual resignation with some relish, telling FT Africa in 2009 that a peaceful transfer of power — which would be a first in Ethiopia’s modern history — “is a precedent that I would almost kill to set.”

Absence fuels regional anxieties

The Financial Times (August 9) reported the prolonged absence of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s usually hyperactive prime minister, has sparked a covert succession struggle at home and prompted fears farther afield for a future without one of east Africa’s diplomatic and security linchpins. Government officials say Mr. Meles, who has not been seen in public since mid-June, is recovering from a serious illness, but they deny opposition rumors that he is dead or dying at a hospital in Brussels. An African Union official said Mr. Meles had been in regular contact with Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s former president and AU envoy to Sudan, during recent negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. He has told AU officials he will be back next month to play a more hands-on role in the next leg of negotiations.

His absence has nevertheless launched a covert succession struggle that threatens to fracture the regime and expose ethnic faultlines at home at a time when the Horn of Africa is struggling to stave off fresh conflicts and overcome terrorist threats. “We are very concerned about developments in Ethiopia, knowing how fragile the politics are there and the fact there is no clear successor,” Raila Odinga, neighboring Kenya’s prime minister, told the Financial Times. He admitted that he and other regional leaders were in the dark on Mr. Meles’s state of health.

While Ethiopia is a small contributor to regional blocs such as the AU in financial terms, the Ethiopian premier’s vision and diplomacy have ensured the country has remained central to security affairs in a

region threatened by terrorism and conflict. He has also become the voice of Africa on wider issues such as climate change and development. “The competence vacuum [without Mr. Meles] will be serious,” says Mehari Taddele Maru at the Institute for Security Studies in Addis Ababa. “Ethiopia plays an important role of balancing,” says Mr. Mehari, pointing to Ethiopia’s pouring cold water on Uganda’s backing for South Sudan earlier this year, a provocation that threatened regional havoc after South Sudan had invaded a Sudanese oilfield, Heglig.

Mr. Meles’s government has twice sent troops into Somalia to fight Islamist militants with US support and regularly brokers deals between fractious neighbors. “Imagine if that influence is not maintained. Will there even be consensus on Somalia at the AU without him? If it was not for Ethiopia, the Sudan/South Sudan border conflict that erupted on Heglig could have turned into regional war.”

The Ethiopian leader’s adroit diplomatic abilities, honed in the 21 years since he led a Tigrayan guerrilla army to power in Addis Ababa, have furthered his pan-African role and he remains able to muster international support despite grave misgivings over his human rights record at home. He presents a determined front welcomed by the west even though the regime has long suppressed dissent, closed newspapers and in 2005 shot dead dozens of protesters after elections marred by fraud returned him to power. “Ethiopia avoids becoming a pariah like Burma because it’s so important to the west in the fight against Islamic terror in Somalia,” says a senior western diplomat who knows Mr. Meles. “It is a dictatorship which will keep the people essentially close to the poverty line but charms people like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.”

Mr. Meles announced his intention to retire from office several years ago and had been preparing to step down before the next elections, according to regime insiders. But they say his continued stay has been motivated partly by his desire to outlive his arch-rival, Issaias Afewerki, president of neighboring Eritrea.

Even government-associated officials now acknowledge Mr. Meles may have to step down sooner, saying the deputy prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also foreign affairs minister and a technocrat groomed by Mr. Meles, would take over.

The country is led by a notional coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, in which Mr. Meles’s Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the guerrillas from northern Ethiopia with whom he came to power, holds sway. “There will be no power vacuum, no political problem in the

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

absence of the party,” insists Abel Abate, a researcher at a state think-tank in Addis Ababa. “Due to the federal system of government, no group or person will take over power. There is no strong man just like Meles in the front.”

But while regime stalwarts insist the party is stronger than Mr. Meles himself, critics stress he has constructed an almost exclusive hold on power, firing senior military figures and stacking the military and intelligence echelons with young officers loyal to him alone. Succession is likely to bring strife to Ethiopia’s elite. Other possible contenders for leadership include Dr Tedros Adhanom, the minister of health who is popular in the west, Berhane Gebre Kristos, an Ethiopian diplomat and senior TPLF cadre member, and Azeb Mesfin, Mr. Meles’s wife. The TPLF leadership is “campaigning against each other right now”, says Hailu Shawel, an opposition leader previously imprisoned by Mr. Meles’s regime. “When somebody has moved the country from a party base to an individual person [Meles], how can you overcome that? Everybody wants to be that dictator.”

you overcome that? Everybody wants to be that dictator.” Muslims and Protests Elders to arbitrate in

Muslims and Protests

Everybody wants to be that dictator.” Muslims and Protests Elders to arbitrate in conflict Efforts have

Elders to arbitrate in conflict

Efforts have started in Addis Ababa to resolve the conflict among different Muslim factions through the arbitration of elders, the private weekly Sendek (August 8) reported. Eight Muslim elders have started efforts to bring the feuding groups together and resolve the conflict. The Muslim elders include university scholars and lecturers. According to the elders, this initiative has created conflicting views from the Muslim community. They said the arbitration move has been welcomed by some while it is being perceived with suspicion by others. The government has not yet said anything in response to the arbitration initiative.

Crackdown on Muslim press

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stated on August 9 Ethiopian authorities must release a journalist who has been detained for almost three weeks, and allow three Muslim news outlets to resume publishing immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said today. Local journalists believe the Muslim press in Ethiopia is being targeted for its coverage of protests by the Muslim community.

In recent months, Ethiopian Muslims have begun staging protests on Fridays to oppose government policies they say are interfering with their religious affairs, according to news reports. These protests are a highly sensitive issue for the government,

which fears a hardline Islamist influence within the predominantly Christian country, news reports said. Local journalists believe the recent harassment of Muslim journalists and newspapers are part of an attempt by Ethiopian authorities to quell coverage of the ongoing protests in the capital.

At least eight police officers raided the home of Yusuf Getachew, editor of YeMuslimoch Guday (Muslim Affairs), in the evening of July 20 in the capital, Addis Ababa, and took the journalist to the Maekelawi Federal Detention Center, according to local journalists. The police also confiscated four of Yusuf's mobile phones, his wife's digital camera, books, and 6,000 birr (US$334), the same sources said. Yusuf was charged the next day with treason and incitement to violence, but the state prosecutor did not cite any YeMuslimoch Guday articles as evidence, local journalists told CPJ. Yusuf has not been granted family visits, and his defense lawyer saw him for the first time on Wednesday, the journalists said.

Two other YeMuslimoch Guday journalists, Senior Editor Akemel Negash and Copy Editor Isaac Eshetu, have gone into hiding, local journalists told CPJ. The police have had the homes of both journalists under surveillance since late July, and stopped only recently, local journalists said. YeMuslimoch Guday, which actively covered the Muslim protests in the capital, has not been published since Yusuf's arrest, the same sources said.

On July 20, police also raided the offices of the privately owned Horizon printing press in Addis Ababa and confiscated copies of Selefia and Sewtul Islam, two Muslim weeklies, according to news reports. Authorities detained Horizon's owner overnight, and neither Selefia nor Sewtul Islam has been published since, according to reports and local journalists. Local journalists told CPJ that the government had ordered the printer to stop publishing the newspapers. Ethiopian government officials did not immediately return CPJ's calls for comment.

"Ethiopia has reached a high level of harassment of the press by attempting to censor coverage of the protests," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "This harassment of journalists and news outlets must stop, and Yusuf Getachew should be released immediately." Also in late July, authorities blocked 30,000 copies of the critical weekly Feteh, which contained front-page coverage of the Muslim protests and the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to CPJ research. The weekly's printer, the state-run Barhanena Selam, has suspended all further publications of Feteh until further notice, local journalists told CPJ.

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

Onislam website blocked

The Ethiopian government has blocked access to OnIslam.net and other media websites over their coverage of Muslim protests against government interference in their religious affairs. “Many websites are blocked in Ethiopia,” sources told OnIslam.net on condition of anonymity. Among blocked websites are OnIslam.net and Aljazeera.net over their coverage of protests by Ethiopian Muslims in recent weeks. There was no official statement from the government on the censorship. Ethiopian Muslims have taken to the streets over the past weeks in protest at government interference in their religious affairs. “Only few websites like OnIslam.net were following up and reporting the developments of the Ethiopians Muslim struggle,” the sources said. Ethiopian Muslims accuse the government of spearheading a campaign in collaboration with the umbrella Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (Majlis) to indoctrinate their community with the ideology of a sect called "Ahbash". Censorship

The censorship is seen as a desperate attempt by the Ethiopian government to prevent the issue of Ethiopian Muslim protests becoming more popular in the world. “The Ethiopian government authorities blocked the highly visited websites like OnIslam.net and Aljazera.com for fear that the Ethiopian Muslim issue will become more popular in the Arab and Muslim world,” the sources said. Ethiopia is notorious for Internet censorship. Last month, the Ethiopian government installed a system to block access to Tor network – a “hidden” layer of the Internet, used to allow anonymous online communications. In May, the government passed a law criminalizing the use of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls. Violators face up to 15 years in jail. Providers of such services face up to eight years in prison and could also be imprisoned for using banned social media sites.

"The Ethiopian government is trying to attack every means of information exchange," Ambroise Pierre from the Reporters Without Borders Africa service told BBC News. "There's already a very strict control over written press, and last year several journalists were arrested, and now the government is tackling communications over the internet. "More and more people in Ethiopia are turning to new technologies, and some are even able to bypass censorship, which explains why the government is trying to use effective methods to control internet communications." Users of Skype and similar Internet call services face up to 15 years in prison in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government says it was only illegal to use Skype "for fraudulent activities."

Minister complains about wife’s arrest

Civil Service Minister Junnedin Saddo has complained that his wife has been unlawfully held in

police custody. The minister admitted that his wife was arrested some weeks ago as she was coming out of the Saudi Embassy with thousands of birr and 500 copies of the Qoran, Sendek (August 8) reported. Ato Junnedin said his wife has had contact with the Saudi Embassy for over a year and this had no connection whatsoever with the recent disturbances by members of the Muslim community. The minister said it was he who established a relationship with the embassy after he requested financial assistance from the embassy for the construction of a mosque in a rural kebele of Arsi region.

Junnedin said the incident has caused considerable moral damage to him and his family. He said his wife has been kept in prison for 16 days away from her children and family for no reason.

Row with police

OPride (August 9) added Ethiopia’s Civil Service Minister, Junedin Saddo, embroiled in a public controversy after lambasting the police for failing to properly investigate his wife before her detention last month. The police say the minister, who recently sent an angry letter to the media, acted inappropriately, interfering with an ongoing investigation and judicial process. The row comes amid uncertain and secretive transition following the sudden disappearance of that country’s longest serving prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

Saddo’s wife, Habiba Mohammed, was nabbed on July 17 under suspicion of lending aid to Muslim activists protesting against state interference in religious affairs. Mohammed was detained upon exiting the Saudi embassy in the capital allegedly with a stash of money totaling about $100,000 in her car – along with Arabic literature and dirty dishes that the police believed were from a Sadaqa (alms) Muslim protesters held at the local mosque.

In a letter to the local newspaper, Ethio-Channel, dated August 1, 2012, Saddo detailed his version of events. In a three-page document, the first official confirmation of the arrest, Saddo denied that his wife had any connection with what he called “extremists.” Saddo insisted that the police failed to exercise due diligence. “Aside from saying we saw her leaving Saudi embassy several times, the police failed to investigate; where did she go next? What did she do with the money, who were her contacts, what does she do in Arsi?” Saddo wrote. According to Saddo, the police acted prematurely without finding answers to these basic questions. Furthermore, the police could have effortlessly gotten to the truth by merely inquiring about her from the police detail [Mrs. Saddo travels with police escort] or requesting the agents to investigate the situation as well-placed detectives, he said.

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

On August 8, in an interview with Addis-based Sendek newspaper, Federal Police commander, Abebe Zemikael, confirmed the arrest of the minister’s wife and said she is currently under investigation in connection with terrorist activities. The police chief added Minister Saddo’s claim about his wife’s clean hands was in bad form. “Innocence can only be proven in court of law,” said Zemikael. “It was inappropriate to say my wife is not guilty while there is a pending police and prosecutor charge against her.”

Mother’s living will

Explaining how the police got the story wrong, Saddo wrote, his wife’s relationship with the Saudi embassy has been ongoing for over a year and half. On May 13, 2009, three days before she passed away, Saddo’s mother, Tayiba Tolo, left a living will, asking him to build a mosque on a land she owned in their native rural village of Shemacha Bego in Lode Hexosa district, Arsi Zone. Saddo was the President of Oromia region before ascending to a ministerial position. In Arsi Oromo culture, he explained, at the event of someone's death, be that a 100-year elderly or a year old baby, it is customary for the mourners to give money to offset the cost of burial – and mourning, which can go on for months at a time. Instead of spending the community’s offerings on feeding mourners, Saddo said, he set on meeting his mother's last living wishes in earnest only a month after his mother had passed. But the amount was barely enough to lay the foundation for the mosque. Saddo writes the contributions were not enough to finish the mosque, and he approached the Saudi Ambassador asking for help, doing so in his capacity as a private citizen. The Ambassador agreed. Subsequently, Saddo’s wife visited the embassy about four times, until her arrest, to collect the money authorized for release in installments.

Last month, when the mosque was finally completed, the Saddos went to the opening ceremony attended by the community, local officials and a representative from the embassy. Towards the conclusion of the event, an ecstatic throng of local community members donated money to put finishing touches on the mosque. The enthusiasm for the project by local folks who had little to spare prompted the staffer to offer additional 50,000 birr and donate 500 Holy Qurans to be picked up any day. Mrs. Saddo was detained the next day after collecting the promised money and Quran.

Saddo categorically denied the report that his wife was acting as a messenger for the protesters and rejected the allegation that she carried propaganda materials and money from the embassy. “There is nothing that police found in the car that can be linked to extremism, there won’t be any,” Saddo concluded.

Saddo said he had been outspoken as a government official and as a citizen against the rise of radicalism in Ethiopia, in the process earning the wrath of the protesters and becoming the target of reprisals along with his family.

and becoming the target of reprisals along with his family. Seven Days in Politics Troops deployed

Seven Days in Politics

of reprisals along with his family. Seven Days in Politics Troops deployed in Gambella According to

Troops deployed in Gambella

According to Reporter (August 5), informed sources have disclosed that Ethiopian troops have been deployed to the Gambella area to bring under control the armed forces that had entered the region with the aim of overthrowing the South Sudan Government. It was reported that the armed groups have taken refuge in the Nuer area of Gambella. There are also reports that the armed groups have been recruiting youth of Gambella for deployment against the South Sudan Government. The Federal government is now working closely with Gambella State to evict the rebel group and hand it over to the South Sudan Government.

Egypt ready to negotiate with ‘new government’, says official

An official of the Egyptian Water and Irrigation Ministry has said the new Egyptian government will work out a deal with the new Ethiopian government on the use of the Nile waters. In a website release, the official said the new Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, would renegotiate a deal with the new government that will come to power in Ethiopia. Asked for comment, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said it is naïve to assume that Ethiopians would budge from their position of defending their country’s interests.

The release comes at a time when Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is ill. The website also said Ethiopia has always been critical of Egypt and there is a need to readjust this position.

Still not published

The private weekly Addis Admas (August 11) reported that the private weekly Feteh newspaper, whose circulation was stopped by the government about a month ago, is still not in print. According to reports, a formal lawsuit has been established against the paper’s editor, Temesgen Desalegn. Temesgen has said he knows nothing about the lawsuit and that he had heard the news from others. Temesgen said it is a new thing that a defendant is

ordered to appear in court over the radio and not

It was Radio Fana

which reported that the court had ordered Temesgen to appear in court on Tuesday.

by a written court summons.

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August 13, 2012

Saudi Arabia expels 35 Ethiopians

The New American (August 9) reported Saudi Arabia has deported 35 Ethiopian Christians it had held in detention since December when they were arrested for holding a prayer meeting in a private home. International Christian Concern (ICC), an organization that monitors the persecution of Christians around the world, reported that the last of the Ethiopians, some of whom had lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for over 15 years, were deported on August 1. “We have arrived home safe,” one of the released Christians told ICC. “We believe that we are released as the result of the pressure exerted by ICC and others. The Saudi officials don’t tolerate any other religions other than Islam. They consider non- Muslims as unbelievers. They are full of hatred towards non-Muslims.”

According to the ICC, on December 15 Saudi police raided the home where the 29 women and six men were holding an all-night prayer vigil, harassing the participants and originally charging them with breaking a Saudi law barring men and women from meeting together in the same room. A Saudi church leader, however, told ICC that the charge was merely an excuse to intimidate and detain the Christians for practicing their faith. “The Saudi officials are accusing the Christians of committing the crime of mixing of sexes,” the church leader said at the time of the arrests, “because if they charge them with meeting for practicing Christianity, they will come under pressure from the international human rights organizations as well as Western countries. In fact, when an employer of one of the detainees asked the reason for their employee’s arrest, the Saudi official told him that it was for practicing Christianity.”

According to ICC, during the nearly eight months the Ethiopian Christians were held, their Saudi captors assaulted and harassed them in an attempt to coerce them into converting to Islam. The detainees told ICC that the intimidation included strip-searching the women and physically abusing the men. One of the female Christians said that in February a Muslim

preacher came to their cells in an effort to persuade them to leave the Christian faith. “The Muslim preacher vilified Christianity, denigrated the Bible and told us that Islam is the only true religion,” the woman told ICC in a phone interview. “The preacher told us to convert to Islam.” She added that “when

our

the preacher asked us, we didn't deny Christian faith.”

In June, ICC reported that when pressured by several U.S. congressional offices investigating the incident, Saudi officials changed their stories several times on just why the Ethiopian Christians were being detained. According to the ICC report, in early May a source close to the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. “had indicated the Christians were arrested as

part of an investigation into a large scale human smuggling ring.” However, that explanation conflicted with the explanation offered in January to Human Rights Watch that the Christian group had been charged with “illicit mingling of genders.”

Shortly thereafter, Saudi officials changed their story, with a representative from the Saudi embassy telling one congressional staffer that the Christians had been detained over problems with with their work permits. But when ICC provided a list of the prisoners and their legal work permit numbers to the congressional office, the Saudi representative once again changed the explanation and claimed the Christians were involved in drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Finally, reported ICC, “on May 21st, in a meeting with staff members from multiple congressional offices, representatives from the Saudi government said that the 35 Christians had been arrested for visa issues, but that they were also involved in some form of smuggling ring. When pressed for specifics, the Saudi officials reportedly demurred and changed the topic.” One of the prisoners told ICC that the Christians were “very sad, and very surprised” at the dubious allegations leveled by the Saudi government. “Why haven’t they brought us to court?” the spokesman for the detained Christians asked. “Why don’t they show us some evidence and bring charges against us? [We feel like] the Saudis are trying to punish us for being Christians by keeping us in prison.”

Saudi Arabia has long maintained close diplomatic ties with the U.S., even as it is considered one of the world's worst repressors of religious freedom. The country bars all public expression of religious conviction other than the strictest interpretation of Islam, and the U.S. State Department has designated the country a “country of particular concern” because of its poor record of human rights abuses, particularly in the realm of religious freedom.

Summoned for reproach

The private weekly Finote Democracy (August 7) reported leaders of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) (Andinet) Party, including Dr. Negaso Gidada, Ato Girma Seifu and Ato Asrat Tasse, have been summoned to the Third Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court to give explanation for the statement they issued on the recent court ruling regarding people accused of involvement in terrorism. UDJ members held an emergency meeting immediately after the court ruling and issued a statement objecting to the court ruling. The court told the three UDJ leaders that the statement was an affront to the dignity of the court. The court later released them in consideration, it said, of their contribution to the development of democracy and multi-party politics.

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House Speaker named Peace Ambassador

The US based Universal Peace Federation (UPF), in collaboration with Vision Ethiopian Congress for Democracy (VECOD), has named House of Peoples; Representative Speaker Abadula Gemeda ‘World Ambassador for Peace’. ENA (August 4) reported at an event organized at the Hager Fiker Theatre on Saturday, VECOD also graduated 500 trainees who completed a three-month course on Leadership and Management Skills Development. Abadula said on the occasion that the task of building a nation should not be left to a few politicians or the government but should be the responsibility of every citizen. Stating that a visionary generation does not depend on others, he said that manpower that works on voluntary basis could move even a mountain leave alone improve the living conditions of individuals.

VECOD’s Executive Director Tadele Dereseh said creating a responsible and ethical generation is the top most priority of the organization. It also works for the elimination of gender-based violence, conflict resolution, democracy building, entrepreneurship and for the respect of human rights, he said.

and for the respect of human rights, he said. Around Neighbors FMs discuss bilateral relations

Around Neighbors

for the respect of human rights, he said. Around Neighbors FMs discuss bilateral relations Ethiopia’s Deputy

FMs discuss bilateral relations

Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, met Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti at his office in Addis Ababa, where they held talks on a number of bilateral issues, Sudan Tribune (August 5) reported. According to State Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on August 5, the two sides held discussions on ways of further enhancing the existing relationship between the two neighboring countries. They also discussed the current situation at a regional level, particularly on Sudan-South Sudan concerns. During the discussion, Karti briefed his Ethiopian counterpart on the ongoing Khartoum- Juba peace negotiation and the latest developments achieved to resolve their disputes peacefully.

Ethiopia is seen as a broker by both Khartoum and Juba and most rounds of peace talks between them have been held in Ethiopia. The East African nation, which also chairs the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had a key role in the peaceful separation of Sudan and South Sudan and in the mediation and encouraging the two sides to settle pending issues remaining from the 2005 Comprehensive peace Agreement. Karti applauded Ethiopia’s position towards both Sudan and South Sudan and expressed gratitude to Desalegn for closely following the ongoing peace negotiation in Addis Ababa.

Desalegn reaffirmed his country’s support of the peace efforts and reiterated their commitment to efforts to ensure the success of the peace processes between the two Sudans. The two foreign ministers’ meeting comes as Sudan and South Sudan achieved a major breakthrough deal on oil transit fees following negotiations brokered by the African Union (AU).

Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, head of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel said on Friday that the two parties have settled financial arrangements on oil fees and will soon engage in discussions for resumption of oil production and oil shipment. Khartoum-Juba talks are now suspended until the end of Ramadan fasting and are expected to resume after Eid holiday around the 23 August.

Test run for power supply to Sudan

According to The Africa Report (August 9), Ethiopia has launched a test run as part of efforts to export electricity to Sudan, according to sources at the Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation. The test run for power supply was launched this week after the finalization of the Ethiopia-Sudan Transmission Line set up at a total cost of 41 million US dollars confirmed authorities at the EEPCo. Ethiopia expects to provide 100 Mega Watts of electricity during the test run, according to the source. The two countries signed a power supply agreement some years back. ENEGROINVEST constructed the transmission line and SUNIR International engaged as a substation contractor for the project funded by the World Bank.

The Ethio-Sudan Transmission Line is 296 kilometers long stretching between the Ethiopian and Sudanese borders. The Ethiopian part of the transmission lines has three sections, Bahirdar to Gondar (137.2 kilometers), Gondar to Shehedie (122 kilometers) and Shehedie to Metema (37 kilometers). The final part of the transmission line was connected with the Sudanese transmission line at Gedaref in Sudan.

The Ethio-Sudan Transmission Line Project is part of the larger East African Power Pool program which is expected to interconnect the region creating a region power pool according to EEPCo. Ethiopia already provides power supply to neighboring Djibouti, while exports to Kenya are expected to start soon.

To improve border security

Ethiopian and Kenyan officials have agreed to improve border security and curb tribal clashes along their common boundaries, Sudan Tribune (August 7) reported. The Kenyan delegation from the Turkana region visited Ethiopia this week to hold talks with their Ethiopian counterparts in Omorate, South Omo. The agreement comes amidst tribal clashes between Borona and Garri communities that broke out in late

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

July in a remote part of Ethiopia near the Kenyan border, leading to the death of at least 12 people and the displacement of over 20,000 into Kenya.

Accordingly, the two sides have agreed to work on reducing border tension and to harmonize the Turkana and Merille communities of the two countries who frequently engage in deadly clashes. “We want to make sure the warring communities co- exist peacefully. Our mandate as governments is to assure residents of both sides live harmoniously by providing security,” said the head of the Kenyan delegation, Albert Mwilitsa. The two sides have also established a joint security body which will inspect the border and prevents the recurrence of ethnic clashes.

The two governments will also open a joint pastoralist school along the border where children from Turkana and Merille community will learn together and therefore develop improved relations from an early age. In either side of the shared borders the two countries have beefed up security to ensure peace and curb tribal fighting. Resource competition mainly on land grazing and water along the poorly demarcated border line are major reasons for armed fighting between the two communities. In May the two East African neighbors agreed to demarcate a new international boundary to avoid border dispute and also to maintain peace and security along the common border.

also to maintain peace and security along the common border. What the Editors Say Reporter The

What the Editors Say

and security along the common border. What the Editors Say Reporter The government must make (private)

Reporter The government must make

(private)

August 5 conflicts in different parts of the

country. Last week, members of the Gerri and Borena tribes clashed in Moyale and many lives were lost. Huge material damage was caused and a large number of citizens were displaced and exiled. This is not the first time that conflicts are erupting between different sections of the society. Many such conflicts have been resolved not by the deployment

of government troops but by local arbitration. We advise that the government, instead of trying to quell such disputes with armed forces, to also try to use local arbitration

This is a mechanism

unstinted efforts to solve local

through elders.

that needs to be fully exploited.

Addis Zemen The country’s revenue of 654 million (government) USD from the export of precious August 8 minerals in the past fiscal year is

welcome news which should encourage all relevant bodies to

maximize their efforts to give greater attention to this sector. But some groups are complaining that the authorities are not giving the necessary attention to this sector.

is urged

to

to give greater

traditional

developing

miners, especially of gold miners.

Ethiopia’s political parties, and

Meanwhile, the government

attention

the

skills

of

Reporter

(private) institutions are only public servants

August 8

and should not be perceived as being above the country’s dignity. Their prestige is solely dependent on their allegiance to the country’s interests. Right now, many political parties, especially those operating outside the country, are creating confusions by spreading misleading rumors. Some have been wishing the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. They are saying that the death of the Prime Minister would remove much of the country’s problems. They say if the Prime Minister dies, then they would even renegotiate on the construction of Abbay Dam. They are already aligning with Ethiopia’s enemies to bring about the downfall of the EPRDF. This is indeed shameful. What is even more alarming is that there are EPRDF members who are sharing this view. We strongly warn against such reckless tendencies. What is the use of gaining selfish interests by destroying one’s own country? One can promote one’s political views freely but not to the extent of hurting Ethiopia’s national interests.

Addis Zemen

The fight against corruption is no

(government)

easy task. No one has so far

August 9 succeeded in stamping out corruption

with a single stroke. Corruption cannot be removed overnight. It requires arduous task, patience, perseverance, prudence and foresight. The government has declared that corruption is a serious social malaise. It is unthinkable to achieve development in a situation where corruption is rampant. The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission has done much by way of exposing corruption and fighting it in the past few years. But what has

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

so

far

been

achieved

is

very

insignificant

 

in

light

of

with

what

remains

to

be

done.

The

Commission, in collaboration with the public, needs to step up efforts and continue fighting this national cancer

until it is completely routed.

Addis Zemen

(government) participate in the upcoming Mejlis

August 10 elections are urged to guard against infiltrators trying to turn the elections into chaos. Muslim adherents have the constitutional right to be protected by security guards in such instances. Voters need to be vigilant but should come out and participate actively in the elections. Elements that are trying to take advantage of the elections to advance their hidden ambitions will be followed closely by the watchful eyes of the security. The government will not interfere in religious affairs as is stipulated in Article 11 of the FDRE Constitution. However, the government has the duty to enforce law and order, and cannot allow terrorists to disrupt things under the cover of religious freedom. The Muslim faithful, therefore, need to understand that there is no room for fear in protecting or exercising their rights. They only need to be vigilant and guard against those that try to infiltrate their ranks

Only that way

can the security and success of the elections be ensured.

All Muslims who are preparing to

with malicious intent.

All Muslims who are preparing to with malicious intent. Socio-Economic Diary Inflation high in July Ethiopia's

Socio-Economic Diary

are preparing to with malicious intent. Socio-Economic Diary Inflation high in July Ethiopia's annual inflation rate

Inflation high in July Ethiopia's annual inflation rate remained stubbornly high at 20 percent in July, data showed on Tuesday, though the pace of increase in food prices slowed marginally, Reuters (August 7) reported. Surges in global oil prices and poor harvests have driven inflation into double digits in several African countries in the past year. The International Monetary Fund says that is the biggest challenge facing policymakers in the Horn of Africa country, which has however registered one of the highest economic growth rates in the world for the last few years.

Officials expect gross domestic product growth of 11 percent for 2011/2012, which ended in June, according to government figures, thanks to rising agricultural output, the seventh consecutive fiscal

year of growth. The year-on-year inflation rate eased

in July from 20.9 percent in June, Ethiopia's statistics

office said. Food inflation dropped to 20.7 percent from 21.5 percent and non-food inflation to 19 percent from 19.8 percent.

Month-on-month prices were flat for the third consecutive month. High coffee earnings in the past few years have boosted the economy of Africa's biggest coffee producer, as have rising gold, oil seed and livestock exports. Ethiopia is also the world's fourth-largest sesame exporter after China, India and Myanmar.

Cotton exports – below expectations

Ethiopia exported just 183 tons of cotton out of several thousand tons of surplus production in the 2011-12 financial year. The exports for the fiscal year were executed after the government lifted its 18 month export ban in March of 2012, the private business weekly Fortune (August 7) reported. Ethiopian cotton went to Portugal earning 5.1 million birr, according to a report released by the Ministry of Trade. Exports would have been higher if it had not been for the ban, said a manager of the Ethiopian Cotton Producers and Experts Association. Exports didn’t increase even after the ban was lifted because there were still stringent requirements put in place by the Ministry of Trade and the Textile Development Institute, he noted. The ban had been put in place to protect domestic textile manufacturers from shortages in raw materials which has ultimately affected producers, the manager said.

A committee of representatives from the sector had

allocated surplus cotton for purchase by 15 textile companies but the factories were unable to buy more than 4 thousand tons of a total of 10 thousand tons. Projected demand for the textile sector for the new financial year is still based on capacity and not on actual demands which may end up resulting in the same sort of surplus as seen in the past year, according to the manager. The performance of the textile sector in the just ended financial year was below expectations earning just 84.6 million US dollars from exports, which is less than 50 percent of the 171.4 million US dollars projected for the budget year.

Transfer of power completed at ECX

According to WIC (August 6), the Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) and four other high-ranking officers on Wednesday

officially handed over their responsibilities to the new management team under Anteneh Assefa. The team

of high-ranking officers, including Bemnet Aschenaki,

strategic officer, Sirak Solomon, compliance officer, Ahadu Wubishet, operations officer, and Solomon Edesso, information technology officer, handed over their responsibility to the new four-member

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

management team, all of whom have been working as deputies for the past seven months.

“Since the beginning of the succession process, the four officers have been working with the old management team to get an idea of what their responsibility would look like in the future,” Eleni Gebremedhin, the outgoing CEO of ECX said. Abinet Bekele, Shimelis Habtewold, Anteneh Mitiku and Tedla Kebede will be filling the shoes of the old officers in that order. She also noted that two of the four officers from the outgoing team will be staying with ECX as advisors until September, while the other two will be around until June 2013 offering their advisory services to the incoming team. The official transfer ceremony was completed after Anteneh and his predecessor CEOs rang the bell to kick start the commodity market’s trading for the day.

First Dreamliner to fly to Addis on August 16

Tadias Magazine (august 7) reported Ethiopian Airlines is poised to make history this month as the first airline in Africa to offer service on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner when it takes its first passenger flight from Washington, D.C. to Addis Ababa on Thursday, August 16, 2012. “On August 14, Ethiopian Airlines will take possession of the plane,” said Bill Maloney of Partner Concepts LLC, a Marryland based public relations and marketing firm that represents Ethiopian Airlines. “The Ethiopian crew that has been training for 6-months will fly the plane to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. where they will be greeted with a welcoming ceremony and diplomatic reception.”

Mr. Maloney told TADIAS magazine that the following day (August 16) the new jet will depart for Ethiopia on its first revenue flight. Maloney said for travelers unable to make the inaugural flight, regularly scheduled, nonstop flights from D.C. to Addis will commence in the Fall.

“We are beyond delighted to introduce the new 787 Dreamliner for travel from the U.S. to Africa,” Kagnew Asfaw, Ethiopian Airlines’ Director of Sales & Services for the Americas, said in a statement. “Ethiopian Airlines was the first African carrier to order the 787 in early 2005 and we are excited to see our planning to fruition with the official launch this month.”

The Financial (August 9) added Ethiopian Airlines, which will be the first airline in the world outside Japan to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is pleased to announce rotating destinations, primarily in Africa, for its 1st Dreamliner. The first flight of Ethiopian Dreamliner dubbed “The Dream Tour,” will be on August 18, 2012, with a sightseeing flight to Mount Kilimanjaro for around 270 invited guests, consisting of Ministers, Ambassadors, other VIPs, Ethiopian ShebaMiles Gold Members and media.

Thereafter, starting from 19 August 2012, the 1st Ethiopian Dreamliner will be operating on rotation basis to African destinations such as Kilimanjaro, Mombassa, Harare, Lusaka, Nairobi, Entebbe, Lagos, Johannesburg, Abuja, Malabo, Douala, Lomé, Accra, Maputo, Luanda as well as to Dubai, Mumbai, Rome, London and Frankfurt.

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, said, “Ethiopian Airlines is a truly indigenous African airline, which has been pioneering the African aviation for the last 67 years and it is only natural for us to deploy our first B787 in Africa. In affirmation of its commitment as Africa’s flagship carrier, we are naming our 1st B787 Dreamliner as “Africa First” ”. Once the airline takes delivery of its 2nd Dreamliner, the aircraft will operate on an assigned scheduled route, which will be announced in near future.

MoA allots land for investment

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) said it has designated more than 125,000 hectares of land for investors engaged in the agriculture sector. The director of Agro-investment support and follow up in the ministry, Esayas Kebede, told ENA (August 6) reported that some 100 hectares of land would be given to potential investors and the remaining plot would be developed by the government. He said the government would offer various support to investors engaged in the agriculture sector. The ministry will make public all information related to land offers through its website to ensure transparency and accountability, he said. So far, more than 5,200 investors have taken investment plots.

Jobs promised by GTP

The Minister of Urban Development and Construction, Mekuria Haile, said the government has attached due attention to enhance the capacity of the construction industry to create jobs and make urban areas habitable for residents. Speaking at the fourth urban and construction development conference held in Mekele town, Tigray State, on August 5, Minister Mekuria said the government is working on making towns habitable for residents and on having standardized facilities, state media (August 6) reported. He said the government is undertaking wide-ranging activities to ensure good governance and fair resource distribution in towns besides creating jobs, he said.

Mekuria said about three million jobs would be created in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Some 1.1 million people got jobs in the past Ethiopian budget year. The construction of 300, 000 residential houses has been launched, he said, adding 40/60 saving program has also been launched for low income families. The Minister said sugar projects in South Omo, Tana Beles, Wolkait, Kessem and Fincha are underway according to

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

schedule. He said over 3.8 billion Birr worth of domestic market link was created to 481,294 Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) operators. The MSEs have also obtained 22 million US dollars from a market link created with exporters. The two-day conference is expected to discuss town construction and development action plan.

DPM wants stronger ties

Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Wednesday that Ethiopia is willing to promote the relationship between Ethiopia and China to a new level, Xinhua (August 9) reported. Speaking at a meeting with He Ping, editor-in-chief of China's state media Xinhua News Agency, Hailemariam Desalegn thanked China for its contribution to promoting Ethiopia's social and economic development. Ethiopia and China have been maintaining good relationship, he said, saying China's investment has contributed its bit in making Ethiopia one of nations that have witnessed fastest economic growth in the past several years.

Ethiopia hopes to learn from China's experiences in economic development and expects more involvement of Chinese enterprises in the improvement of infrastructure to realize mutual benefits, said Hailemariam Desalegn who is also the minister of foreign affairs. He also thanked Xinhua for making accurate, objective and positive news coverage on Ethiopia's social and economic progress. He Ping said in the times of multipolarization, there is an increased need of voices from developing nations, and Xinhua is willing to work with Ethiopian media to present Ethiopia's social and economic improvement to China and the world, and to deepen understanding between peoples of the two nations

MoU with China for joint business council

Ethiopia and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a joint business council. Business and investment discussions were also held between members of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) on August 6. State media (August 7) reported ECCSA Vice President Junnedin Basha said that the MoU signed with the People’s Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is aimed at strengthening the all-round trade and investment ties between the two countries.

According to Junnedin, Ethio-China relations date back many years and the two nations were at the forefront of world civilization. “Since then, these two sisterly countries have been enjoying one of the most cordial and close relationship of our world. Nowadays, the relationship has been coupled with diplomatic, political and economic ties. China has

proven itself to be a true and dependable friend in many ways to Ethiopia. The economic relations between the two countries bear a remarkable witness,” he said.

ECCSA data indicate the total trade turnover between the two countries reached nearly 1.7 billion USD in 2011 from nearly 353 million USD in 2004. Ethiopia’s export to China also reached over 280 million USD in 2011 from nearly 15 million USD in 2004 and import well over 1.4 billion USD in 2011 from 338 million in 2004. The balance of trade remains highly in favor of China. Over the years between 1998 to 2012, Chinese investors received licenses to undertake 938 projects with a registered capital of over 2.4 billion USD. Most of the investment projects, 57 per cent of which is in the manufacturing sector, followed by real estate, machinery and equipment rental and consultancy service. These projects have created over 67,000 permanent jobs and 79,000 temporary jobs for Ethiopians.

Six organizations up for privatization

Ethiopia is to privatize six publicly owned enterprises including the Addis Ababa Ghion hotel according to the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervisory Agency. The Reporter (August 10) reported the other enterprises that have been made available for sale are Awash Winery, Coffee Technology Promotion, Batu Construction, Limu Agricultural Development and Batu Housing Construction. PPESA plans to privatize 20 publicly owned enterprises in the 2012-

13 financial as part of the plan of the Agency it

announced. Bahr Dar Textile, Bale Agricultural Development, Arsi Agricultural Development, Kombolcha Textile, Bekelcha, Comet and Woyra

Transport companies are expected to be part of the

20 companies will be offered for auction this year.

Adami Tulu Pesticide could also be offered as joint

venture development with the government retaining a share according to sources who wished to remain anonymous.

The bid tendered by the Ethiopian Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency for Ghion Hotel is expected to attract many investors. It will open on August 9th 2012 according to Wendafrash Assefa, Head of Public Relations with the EPPESA. The auction to privatize the hotel has attracted several investors and more are expected until the final day of the bid said Wendafrash. The current bid is arranged differently from the previous PPESA privatization process for the hotel in that it is no longer a partial share arrangement with the government retaining a share. The hotel is open to full acquisition this time which is why more investors are showing an interest according to a representative of one of the companies expected to take part in the bid.

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

According to Addis Admas (August 11), no bidder has so far come forward to buy the Ghion Hotel which was offered for public tender last week. Ghion Hotel is one of the six state development organizations offered for bid by the Privatization and State Development Organizations Supervising Agency. There were six bidders at the public bid last Wednesday. Three of them bid for Limu Farm, two for the Batu Construction of Residential Houses, and one for the Awash Winery. A bidder offered 15 million USD for the Awash Winery.

Joint

smallholder farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is collaborating with Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and USAID to provide smallholder farmers of fruits and vegetables with grafted fruit trees and quality vegetable plants. The programme is known as Small Holders Horticulture Programme. The MoA-MASHAV-USAID Smallholders Horticulture project is encouraging the cultivation of fruits and vegetables that serves as “insurance policy” for smallholders. The project was implemented by MASHAV in partnership with MoA and USAID targeting at transferring agricultural technology as well as building farmers' capacity in the areas of plant bio-technology, irrigation, horticulture and water management.

The programme has set up five nurseries--a place where plants are propagated and grown to useable size, and upgraded four tissue culture laboratories to enhance local farmers' horticulture production. As part of the programme, a training was given for local development experts by Israeli agricultural experts on Methodologies of Extension for four days at Butajira Center of Excellence. The training is expected to build the capacity of local agricultural experts. Assefa Degefu is a development agent who took part in the training. According to him, the training they took for four days will enable all the trainees to assist farmers in a better way.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training, Israeli Acting Ambassador to Ethiopia, Effie Ben- Matityau, said, “Israel has a long and successful experience in the agricultural sector and we want to share this experience to the developing nations, especially for Ethiopia because we are historically close friends.” In this programme, they are also trying to change production chain in order to make sure that the production process is going right in terms of quality and quantity. Accordingly all the stakeholders have agreed to extend the programme to the next phase where the Butajira centre could be a showcase for learning and demonstration.

The joint project is working in four states: Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities,

project

to

alleviate

challenges

of

and peoples states. The programme which started in 2005 will phase out in 2012, but will be succeeded by new projects. The follow up programme will take place between 2012 to 2015. The upcoming programme is designed to scale-up these activities within the framework of the US Feed the Future Initiative and Agricultural Growth Programme of Ethiopia. The objective of the new programme is to promote sustainable economic growth in rural areas by strengthening the commercial viability of smallholders in fruits and vegetable production with recognized market potentials. The programme will support and establish additional nurseries and tissue culture.

More US support in health

State media (August 7) reported the U.S. has announced plans to support Ethiopia's efforts to strengthen the health workforce. Speaking at the 2nd annual meeting of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) on Tuesday, US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald E. Booth, said the U.S. will provide support through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) towards the same goal. Ambassador Booth said supporting Ethiopia's efforts to strengthen the health workforce has been a top priority for the US. The Ambassador said the US government is also providing additional resources to improve pre- service for medical schools other than those participating in MEPI.

PEPFAR is now supporting the government's efforts to ensure quality education for the next generation of doctors. It supports over 4.5 million people on antiretroviral treatment, and incidence of new infections has decreased in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The world is now on a path towards the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and the goal of an AIDS free generation is now a realistic aspiration for all, the Ambassador said.

In a message delivered through a representative, Health Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom said the training capacity of medical schools and other health science colleges is being expanded in the country. Dr. Tedros said the enrollment capacity of medical schools grew to 3,100 in the last academic year from 336 in 2004/05 academic year. The number of public medical schools (university and hospital-based) also increased to 23 from five in the same period. He said the government is undertaking various activities to ensure the quality of medical education. He also lauded US support in all spheres of Ethiopia's development endeavors.

Rights and Wrongs

Commission to tackle corruption

According to Reporter (August 8), the Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission has begun talks with

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

stakeholders on how to change procurement rules and regulations of government organizations aimed

at closing doors for corruption. In a presentation he

made at the second nationwide corruption review meeting, Commissioner Ali Suleiman indicated that the construction sector is where corruption is most widely practiced. He said contractors are working closely with procurement offices and are sharing the money they steal together. He said the commission has many times stopped purchases of goods suspecting they were processed unlawfully.

A survey conducted on corruption indicated that,

generally speaking, corruption has been declining and that what is practiced in Ethiopia is petty and not large scale corruption. Asked to comment on reports that the commission is afraid of accusing high ranking officials in connection with corruption, Ato Ali said the commission is not making any effort to blackmail any official simply to gain name as an independent and bold commission.

ENA (August 8) added the Federal Ethics and Anti- corruption Commission said on Tuesday it has given due attention to preventing and combating corruption and related corrupt activities. The Commission, with support from the World Bank, has undertaken its second nation-wide corruption survey. Commissioner Ali Suleyman said the survey showed there is less corruption in Ethiopia now. According to the survey, courts, police, kebele and woreda administrations as well as some regional bureaus are among institutions where corruption is mainly practiced, he said. Ali said due emphasis was given to corruption activities related with tax evasion, land administration, public procurement and justice in the just concluded Ethiopian budget year.

Some 12 million birr embezzled in cash, over 318 square meter land, three vehicles, 81kg gold worth 72 million birr and other materials related to corruption were returned to the government during the last budget year, he said. A study conducted by the Addis Ababa University to assess the efforts of the Commission undertaken to prevent corruption through face to face education has shown customer satisfaction, the Commissioner said.

Investors said to be involved in drug trafficking

According to Reporter (August 5), the Ethiopian Investment Agency has disclosed that a large number of licensed foreign investors have widely resorted to drug trafficking keeping their licenses idle. It was disclosed that Jamaican and Dutch citizens together with their Ethiopian collaborators have been arrested on charges of drug trafficking. A formal law suit has been established and the request by the defendants’ lawyer to release them on bail has been rejected. The accused will remain in custody until the next hearing in November.

Housewife charged with drug trafficking

The Star Online (August 10) reported an Ethiopian housewife was charged in the magistrate's court Friday, with trafficking in 90kg of the hallucinatory drug, cathinone. Muna Muhammad Ibraheem, 36, allegedly committed the offence at the Malaysian Royal Customs import and free zone operations office at the KLIA at noon on August 2, 2012. However, no plea was recorded from the mother of two, who is a permanent resident of Canada. Sessions Court Judge Zulhelmy Hassan, who acted as magistrate, fixed October 16 for mention, pending the chemist's report.

The accused, represented by counsel Zaflee Pakwanteh and counsel Emrad Juandi, was ordered to be remanded at the Kajang Prison.

Kaleidoscope

Meseret reclaims 5,000m title

For almost a decade, the Ethiopians Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar have been locked in a heated custody battle over the 5,000 meters The New York Times (august 10) reported. They’ve traded world championships, world records and Olympic crowns, with Dibaba exhibiting a protective ferocity over the event for much of the past four years. At the 2008 Olympics, Dibaba snatched the Olympic title from Defar on her way to becoming the first woman to win the 5,000 and 10,000 in a single Games.

On Friday night, Dibaba was trying to complete the double for a second time, and she took the lead into the last lap of a predictably tactical race. But, fatigued from her gold-medal effort in the 10,000 as well as an undisclosed pre-Games illness, Dibaba had no answer for Defar’s finishing kick. Defar, the

2004 Olympic champion, blew past her on the final

curve and reclaimed her title with a time of 15

minutes 04.25 seconds. It was well short of the 12- year-old Olympic record of 14:40.79 by Romania’s Gabriela Szabo, but significantly faster than Dibaba’s

2008 winning time of 15:41.40.

In the final 20 meters, Dibaba, 26, also was passed by Kenya’s Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot, who swept the 5,000 and 10,000 titles at the world championships last year in the absence of Dibaba, who missed the competition with shin splints. Cheruiyot clocked a 15:04.73 to Dibaba’s 15:05.15. “I gave it a good shot,” said Dibaba, who holds the world record of 14:11.15, “but I wasn’t aiming for bronze. I’m a bit disappointed, but in a way I’m not sad because I did finish in a medal position.”

Seven Days Update

August 13, 2012

Defar is the second woman to regain an Olympic athletics title on the track. The first was Dibaba’s cousin Derartu Tulu, who won the 10,000 meters in 1992 and 2000. As she took her victory lap, Defar pulled a cloth picture of the Virgin Mary from her track top, held it aloft and kissed it. “To win gold in one’s third Olympics is very tough,” Defar said. “This was a very decisive Olympics for me.” She added, “At this Olympics my focus was on one race only. I wanted to get gold in the 5,000 meters. Since 2008 I have tried everything as I wasn’t able to win the Olympics.”

Dejen takes silver in men’s 5000m

Roared on again by a boisterous, capacity crowd at the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, Mo Farah surged ahead late and held on Saturday to complete a long-distance double by winning the 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 41.66 seconds, AP (August 11) reported. The Somali-born Farah won the 10,000 meters on Britain's "Super Saturday" last weekend. "It's unbelievable," the 29-year-old Farah said. "Two gold medals, who would have thought that?"

Dejen Gebremeskel finished strongly to earn silver for Ethiopia in 13:41.98, and Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya took bronze in 13:42.36.

Marathon gold goes to Uganda

Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda surged at the 23-mile mark on Sunday to win the Olympic marathon over his East African rivals from Kenya in 2 hours 8 minutes 1 second, the New York Times (August 12) reported. Kiprotich’s victory in the 26.2-mile race gave Uganda its first gold medal at the London Games and its second ever in track and field. John Akii-Bua won the 400-meter hurdles at the 1972 Munich Games. On a hot day that had reached 72 degrees by the start, Abel Kirui of Kenya, the two-time world champion, won silver in 2:08:27. Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich of Kenya, the

prerace favorite and reigning London Marathon champion, drew away at seven miles but could not hold on in the wilting heat and took bronze in

2:09:37.

Meb Keflezighi of the United States, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist who had been bothered recently by a strained gluteus muscle, ran steadily and moved up throughout the final miles to finish fourth in 2:11:06.

****

WAAG Communications Enterprise Pvt. LTD provides this news summary for information purposes only and does not assume responsibility for the accuracy or the content of the news reports contained herein.

“Ethiopia: 7 Days Update” is a news summary produced by WAAG Communications Enterprise Plc.

Tel: 011-123-6783; 011-655-1696 E-mail: tafari.wossen@ethionet.et

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